Abhijit Naskar

About Abhijit Naskar

Abhijit Naskar is one of the world’s celebrated Neuroscientists, an International Bestselling Author of numerous books and a popular advocate of mental wellness and global harmony. He has revealed to the world with his contributions in Science how the basic awareness of the brain can completely redefine our perception of life and make our daily life much more cheerful. He takes us on a fascinating investigative journey of understanding the human mind and its vivid features. He was born in Calcutta, India. His rejuvenating scientific philosophy of the mind has been lavishing human life with the colors and sweetness of self-awareness, since its advent with his very first book “The Art of Neuroscience in Everything”.

 

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How the understanding of the brain can change our lives

People often ask me – what is my work about? I tell them – I study humans – I study how they think, how they feel, how they behave and why. This answer probably would induce another question in your mind, which is – “how does this apply to my personal life?” So, the real question here is – how does the understanding of the mind, which essentially is the understanding of brain functions in a large scale, can effect and change human life? How can the understanding of the mind be applied by the lay-person – the non-scientist, in his or her life, to live better, with friends, family and co-workers?

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These are the questions, which I attempted to address in one of my works, entitled “What is Mind?” I concocted various thought experiments to elucidate answers to such questions among other philosophical ones? So, in this piece, we are going to take a look, at two excerpts from the book, which are most appropriate in this context. First let’s bring up an excerpt to shed some light on how our behavioral capacities and traits can alter radically based on internal and external conditions.

Excerpt 1 from What is Mind?:

Imagine yourself having a fight with your romantic partner. The tension of the situation makes your limbic system run at full throttle and you become flooded with stress hormones like cortisol and adrenalin. The high levels of these chemicals suddenly make you so damn angry, that you burst out in front of your partner saying, “I wish you die, so that I can have some peace in my life”. Given the stress of the situation through highly active limbic system, your PFC loses its freedom to take the right decision and you burst out with foul language in front of your partner, that may ruin your relationship. In simple terms due to your mental instability, you lost your free will to make the right decision.

But when the conversation is over, and you relax for a while, your stress hormone levels come down to normal, and you regain your usual cheerful state of mind. Immediately, your PFC starts analyzing the explosive conversation you had with your partner. Healthy activity of the entire frontal lobes, especially the PFC suddenly overwhelms you with a feeling of guilt. Your brain makes you realize, that you have done something devilish. As a result, now you find yourself making the willful decision of apologizing to your partner and making up to him or her, no matter how much effort it takes, because your PFC comes up the solution that it is the healthiest thing to do for your personal life.

From this you can see, that what you call free will is something that is not consistent. It changes based on your mental health. Mental instability or illness, truly cripples your free will. And the healthier your frontal lobes are, the better you can take good decisions. And the most effective way to keep your frontal lobes healthy is to practice some kind of meditation.

So, you see, what you feel when you are angry or sad, or desperate, may not actually be the baseline emotional state of your individual mind. Taking that into consideration, you can take necessary precautions to prevent your angry outburst from ruining a certain relationship with another person. Now let’s look at one of the most significant thought experiments from What is Mind?, which actually depicts the real life benefit of the understanding of brain functioning. I named this thought experiment The PMDD Conundrum.

Excerpt 2, A Thought Experiment from What is Mind?

The PMDD Conundrum (Thought Experiment, What is Mind?, 2016)

Mental health influences your decision-making ability regardless of your experiences. However, experience is what makes you better at making the right decision in a given situation. Here the term right only refers to your subjective perspective of the choice. To explain how experience alters one’s free will,let’s carry out a little thought experiment in the context of two different scenarios.

CONTEXT 1

Imagine yourself to be layman with no notable awareness of biology. You start dating a woman planning a long-term relationship. Every month right before her period starts, she gets extremely cranky like all menstruating women. However, she tells you that she has a rare medical condition called Pre-Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder or PMDD, which is the extreme form of PMS. You have already heard all about women getting agitated during their PMS, so you think that it is just the same. However, in time things get real stressful. Every month during those days, she would turn into a completely different person. And one time, she gets so agitated that she bursts out – you are the worst decision of my life. Naturally, it feels beyond acceptable to you. You are a human after all.

You cannot ignore such behavior any more. You start perceiving every single insulting word from her mouth to be true. It seems that it is what she really feels. You start getting upset beyond tolerance. And after several of such intense insults from her during those days, you realize that you don’t deserve such nonsense. You have no practical idea of what PMDD really is, so you perceive the insulting and violent behavior of your woman to be extremely inappropriate. So, one day you simply go ahead and tell her – you are nothing but a psychopathic maniac who just likes to hurt people. I think it’s time we ended things. Here, due to the lack of deeper understanding of what PMDD really is, your lay brain makes a decision based on your limited perception and needs, that you need to end the relationship.

CONTEXT 2

Now let’s run the same experiment in a different context. Imagine yourself to be a person with a hobby of reading a lot of Science books, especially those connected to the mind. You like to learn new things. Now, you get into the same situation and the same circumstances as mentioned earlier. But, here when your girlfriend tells you about her condition after the first month of outburst in your relationship, you get really curious. Previously due to your curiosity you have already learnt about the basic biology behind PMS and how it affects the female psychology. So, hearing about PMDD, you don’t only feel responsible but also very intrigued to learn about it. You feel the urge to know how can such a cheerful person turn into a completely different human being, almost like a beast?

And as you start reading, everything begins to make sense. The first thing you realize is that, PMDD is nothing like the common PMS that almost every girl faces. It is the extremely violent form of PMS, which is very rare. Due to the intense hormonal storms of PMDD inside a woman’s head, her cognitive reality changes drastically during the pre-menstrual days. You start to realize what your woman has to go through every month, due to her condition. A man can never even imagine in his wildest dreams how such storm feels like.

PMDD leads to the worst of hormonal mood swings. Every month during these days she turns into a completely different person filled with hopelessness and gloom. As soon as the tides change she comes back to her real cheerful self. It is this condition which makes her say the things she would never say in a lucid mental state.

You begin to understand that for most women with PMS the hormonal changes are manageable, and they are able to somehow keep their agitation to themselves. But for your special lady, the story is different and quite unmanageable. Most weeks of the month she is brainy, creative, enthusiastic, cheerful and optimistic, but a mere shift in the hormonal flood on certain days makes her absolutely hopeless about the future, about herself, about your relationship and basically about everything that she can think of. On those days her inner instability forces her to hate herself as well as get irritated at every single action you take. And the most fascinating thing about her mental state during that time is that the hopelessness caused by hormonal imbalances feels so damn real to her that she literally perceives it as the everlasting reality of her life. The utter hormonal turbulence completely transforms her cognitive reality from a cheerful one to a gloomy one. It constructs an altered state of consciousness, in which she becomes a different personality filled with nothing but hatred and rage.

She becomes absolutely blind to all the cheerful moments of her life. And she gets so restless that she explodes with insulting words towards you. Over time, you learn that the best to do in this situation is to do nothing and just be there with her. And every time she gets cranky, you simply learn to remain patient and unaffected by her words. Every month, once the hormonal storm wears off, she comes back to her original sunny state. In time, you grow more attachment for her, and she even becomes fonder of you, because you are always there for her, even when she is mad as hell. Thus, you don’t ever feel to leave her, rather together you stay forever and beyond.

ANALYSIS

In both contexts, you had two available options to choose from – leave or stay. Yet, you made totally opposite decisions in exactly the same circumstances. The only thing that was different is your understanding and experience.

In the first context, you were a layman with a general view of the world. You perceived everything in a generalized manner, with no further need of your own to explore and have deeper understanding of a phenomenon. Hence, when it came to decide whether to leave or to stay in the relationship, your brain made the decision based on your generalized understanding of everything, and you willfully preferred to leave your woman in the pursuit of a better prize, with less crankiness.

In the second context, you had a better grip over natural phenomena. Moreover, you had the curiosity to understand things, in a better way than the general public. And your understanding allowed you to try seeing the world from your woman’s perspective. And the more you tried, the better you became at being next to her when she needed you the most and hated you at the same time. You got experienced at it.

Naturally, the thought of leaving her, never occurred in your mind. And even if it did, you brushed off as the spur of the moment. Because your PFC already had sufficient data on the situation to analyze and come up with a positive outcome. Your experience here served as the very foundation, of your willful support towards your woman.

Each emotional impulse, each thought, each behavioral expression, has a neurological basis. Understanding these bases can redefine how we look at a person, how we look at a certain behavior of that person, how we look at a certain emotional impulse or behavioral expression of ourselves, and then to choose whether or not to accept it as our usual characteristic. And this very looking can change how we see our lives, how we live our lives, and how we see the world which we live in. In this looking lies the true key to contentment. In this looking, lie precious jewels of graceful living.

 

 

Recommended Reading

What is Mind?, 2016

For Speaking Engagement Inquiry or Consultation Inquiry, email at naskarism@gmail.com

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Consciousness is indeed rocket science

A tired brain says all kinds of stuff – but none of it, is the actual intention of the individual. If your wife is extremely upset during the hormonal storms striking her psyche before menstruation, she may most vocally proclaim that she does not love you any more, or that she is tired of you – but the hard reality beyond the momentary hormonal impulses is that those words are nowhere near the actual truth. Now let’s turn the situation around. If your husband gets extremely angry for some reason, and bursts out saying that, you are the greatest mistake of his life, this does not mean, that it is exactly what he feels in his lucid state of mind. And that my friend, is the complexity of human consciousness.

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Human consciousness is not at all as simple as you think. Yes I have said previously on my works that it is the simplest phenomenon on earth, but that statement would only make sense to you if you have actually studied the human brain. Otherwise, you would either take our word for it, or completely refute it, deluded by your culturally passed on barbarian idea of soul and afterlife and all that non-sense of our tribal days.

Human consciousness is the part of the mind which we are actively engaged in. And human mind is not what you think it is, that is, it is not a fixed system. It is a relentlessly changing virtual system, created by electrochemical interactions among the neurons of the brain. Billions of neurons talk to each other through the language of neurochemicals, and voila! We have a sense of being, i.e. a sense of mind. Now here, many new readers of my work have put forward the argument, that we neuroscientists are talking about a magically appearing mind or consciousness out of a bunch of neurons. Recently, somebody referred to it, in the comments sections of one of my articles, as “neurostupidity”. While accepting that I am stupid, and I try my best to become less stupid over time, this attack does not bother me the least, but what does bother me is that these people deem traditionally passed opinions as more important than empirical research of modern science. They think, because those beliefs are a part of their tradition, they must be true. What kind of barbarian logic is that! If one says that it is stupidity for us neuroscientists to say that consciousness is a product of neurons and it does not come from the heavens, because one does not understand it, then it is completely fine, and we scientists would do our best to make the matter as easy as possible. But if one says it’s stupidity, because it does not abide by the traditional wisdom of their forefathers, then I am afraid, it is that one creature who’s stupid and still is living in the barbarian days of ignorance. But the point is, even ignorance can be resolved, but not illusion of knowledge.

“Shallow intellect is worse than ignorance. Ignorance can be treated with knowledge, but shallow intellect, that is illusion of knowledge, is untreatable and quite dangerous to the progress and wellbeing of humanity.”

― Either Civilized or Phobic: A Treatise on Homosexuality

To have a real insight, not just theoretical understanding of how the mind is born through physical activity of neurons, an individual must go through decades of research on the human brain. Without this laborious endeavor, no human can truly realize – truly, genuinely realize, how the neurons create the mind. I am talking literally seeing this fact, as clear as one sees the sun and the moon. And this non-conflicted seeing cannot happen, even if one simply listens to a talk by a Neuroscientist for an hour. Yes, we Neuroscientists can bring up various examples, to illustrate how the brain creates our perception of ourselves and the world, and this may make you a bit able to see this rise of consciousness or to a broader aspect the mind in the brain, but it will still not make you see the way we the scientists of the mind see it. It’s a matter of deep revelation, not just about theorizing and conceptualizing. And, I am in no way saying that we are smarter than you or any other layperson. But the only difference is in our engagement in the matter. While we wake up, while we sleep, while we eat, while we walk, we are relentlessly, thinking about various elements of the human mind. I cannot be sure of other scientists, but at least I function this way.

If one wants to have the confident awareness of how the mind is born in the brain, one must go through the pains that a scientist takes in order to study decades of research on the matter and scrutinize them very closely. The alternative is to take our word for it – by our I mean, the majority of Neuroscientists, Psychologists and Psychiatrists. To avoid the intellectual ordeal, you can depend on us, and that may make things clear to you, but it will still not be a complete understanding of the mind. Like it or not, there is no easy way here. Trying to understand the origin and nature of consciousness without actually arduously studying neurobiology, is like trying to understand quantum mechanics without actually studying physics.

Now the point is, people would most willingly accept that quantum physics is something that they don’t understand, but when it comes to the mind or soul, or consciousness, they would most neurotically proclaim that they know everything, because various traditions throughout the world have passed on their imaginary perception of this concept as a form of divine wisdom. And it takes huge courage and curiosity to actually see that those so-called perceptions were nothing but imaginations and opinions formed in the absence of real empirical understanding of the phenomenon which we scientists call the mind, and the ancient people called soul. This makes me think of the very nature of scientific understanding.

Science or scientific understanding begins not with the knowledge of something, rather with the actual acceptance of our ignorance of that phenomenon. You only begin to understand something truly, when you accept that you don’t know anything real about it – when you accept that your ancestors did not hand over to you actual knowledge, rather they handed over their imaginary stories to you. So, the first step towards actually, genuinely, truly, and least subjectively understand the rise of the mind in the brain, and its true nature and features, is to let go of your so-called traditional or cultural ideas on this issue. If those ideas indeed do have even traces of truth, you would discover them for yourself, once you truly start to understand the phenomenon.

Consciousness is indeed Rocket Science. To understand truly, how it is born from electrochemical activity of neurons, one must take the pains that we scientists take to study it. If you don’t have that kind of time and patience, then the easier alternative for you is to rely on the opinions of us scientists, that is the majority of us. But, be aware, no matter how desperately we scientists attempt to clarify this issue for the understanding of the general population, we can only give an overall perspective on the neurological origin of consciousness, but that perspective could never be an actual revelatory insight. So, the choice is yours – either do the study yourself, or rely on our works, or be a deluded idiot and take traditional beliefs as fact.

(Simultaneously published on Goodreads, Apple News and TopBuzz.)
Recommended Reading

A Doctor’s Mission

The world is filled with various professions. But perhaps the most significant among them in terms of its direct impact upon human life, is the profession of a doctor. There’s a special kind of people who call themselves doctors. I wonder, whether they know what that term doctor really means. I wonder whether they actually, genuinely, realize the gravitas of the responsibility that they take upon themselves, by becoming doctor. What is it to be a doctor? Is it about merely knowing deeply, empirically, about biology, sickness and health – or is there much more to this so-called divine profession! So, let’s find out together – what is a doctor – and what is the real purpose of such a glorious title? What is the mission of a doctor?

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Though I do not officially practice medicine, because I am in the field of mental health, I receive many queries from patients as well as doctors from all over the world on a daily basis, regarding various mental issues. I am not a doctor – I am a scientist – a scientist with deep concern for the well being of the global society. But you’d already know that, if you have read my works. I don’t practice medicine, but I do try my best to advise on issues of the mind, as a friend – and I mean, as a friend, which means I don’t take any money for whatever little time I can provide to clear the confusions of the some of the individuals who correspond with me.

And the very first thought that appears in my mind, upon closely examining the psyche of patients and doctors, is that to be a real doctor, it is imperative that while acquiring knowledge of medicine and biology, one must also foster the mentality of being a doctor. Because, being a doctor, is not simply about having an understanding of anatomy and sickness, rather it is about having an understanding of true wellness and more importantly, it is about understanding the intensity of the concern of the patient’s next of kin. The purpose of medicine is not to postpone death, but to improve the quality of living. Hence, a doctor’s mission should not be to prevent death, but more importantly it should be to improve the quality of life. Being a doctor is unlike any other profession on earth. Being a doctor is the closest real thing that we can have on earth to being a God with the power to sustain life. Gods are imaginary, but Doctors are not. They are actual living beings on earth, with the actual expertise of give life to others. The responsibility of a doctor is higher than any other kind of responsibility. Because, the human society does not rely on any other professional, to such a gigantic extent as it does on doctors.

The very first lesson of becoming a doctor is that, if you have very little patience, then you should not even think of becoming a doctor, because you may acquire all the knowledge about medicine and anatomy, but without the fundamental virtue patience, you can never in a million years become a Doctor. Patience is the golden virtue in doctorhood. Without it, no matter how many medical books and papers you memorize, they will not make you a real, effective and genuine doctor. So, what could define a genuine good doctor! After all, good doctors is what the society really needs, not some pompous bookworms with stethoscopes. And if you can’t be a good doctor, then there is no use of being a doctor in the first place – be anything else but a doctor. Because doctorhood is not everyone’s cup of tea. If you think you are good at studies, and that makes you qualified to be a doctor, then you couldn’t be more wrong my friend. You can go into medical research with that attitude, but not in medical practice.

There is a subtle yet quite radiant distinction between medical research and medical practice. Medical Research is about understanding the anatomy in a better way, and discovering new gateways of sustaining and nourishing life. But medical practice on the other hand, is about putting that understanding in practice, which involves real humane encounter with patients. Mind you, o conscientious doctor, patients are not your clients, they are the gods whom you took an oath to serve for so long as you live. The moment you put that apron on in your mind, you dedicated your life not to the benefit of your own, but to the benefit of your society – the benefit of people. It is the divine law of service that you promised to keep, even in the midst of utmost difficulty. And the moment you fail to abide by this divine law of service, you would no longer remain a doctor, but simply a mockery of the medical profession.

This law – the law of service – the law of benefiting your patient beyond any personal gain, is not a pompous philosophy to boast about, but the bed-rock of doctorhood. And if you want benefit of your own, above the benefit of your patient, then you should better go into business, not in medicine. Mind you, here I am not talking about self-denial, for it is an impossibility, rather I am simply talking about not taking your comfort and luxury to be more important than the well being of the patient, not just the physiological well being, but psychological as well. And I am pretty much aware that this is not at all an easy job. That is why I mentioned in the very beginning that patience is the golden virtue in doctorhood.

A doctor should be a clown at heart, a scientist at brain and a mother at conscience. This means that a doctor should be cheerful, insightful and caring. Being cheerful does not mean always being funny, rather it means to be aware of the seriousness of a situation, and still keeping calm. Being insightful does not mean knowing everything about sickness and health, but to have the common mental maturity and capacity to accept when you do not know something, or to accept a mistake if committed. And being caring does not mean flattering or pampering the patient, but to genuinely take the well being of the patient to be of more concern than the well being of your own. And these three principal faculties of doctorhood grow stronger in time as you keep fostering and practising them. However, on the off chance that you fail to truly practise them, despite all wishes and efforts, then you should have the basic courage to leave medical practice and go into research, for the betterment of the society.

No good can come out of denying the self. Therefore, if it is really in your soul to be a doctor so that you can do real good quite literally in people’s lives through direct interaction, then by all means, give your heart and soul to the service of humanity by learning and practicing medicine, but if that practice seems too much of an effort for you and you can’t keep up with the pressure and constant nagging of the patients or their dear ones, then be brave and leave the practice. Mind you, practice of medicine is a profession for patient souls, not rash intellectuals. A patient doctor is a real doctor, an impatient doctor is no doctor at all.

Further Reading
What is Mind?, 2016

Put God first, but don’t boast it

Belief in God – that is what we will naively discuss in this piece. And the focus is of course on being naive, because it is the first criterion to understand a phenomenon truly with its real fundamentals. One cannot understand something, if one is already filled with predominant conditioned beliefs, opinions and ideas. So, let’s look at the belief in an Almighty Concerned Entity or Force, with literally, not theoretically, naive eyes. If you have read my works, you’d know that one statement is pretty prevalent in most of them. It is “belief is a self-preservation mechanism of the mind.” Here, the belief I mentioned is not necessarily of religious type. The belief in this statement refers to all sorts of belief, not just religious. However, in this piece, we are interested specifically, in the belief in a supernatural entity.

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But why? Why am I talking about it exactly now? Because, I was scrolling through my youtube feed, and came across a video of some actor, shouting out “put God first”. The very first casual response that mind spat out was – even the stupidest and barbarian opinions of celebrities can appear to the masses as greatly inspirational and glorious statements – what a shame! As I said, this was the first response that my mind produced upon watching the thumbnail. So, now, let’s get over this casual response and dissect the situation – to be specific, the statement – “put God first”. It basically says, never lose faith in God, and you’ll achieve everything. I won’t say whether it is civilized or not. But I would say this. Belief in a supernatural entity having control of and concern for, your life, is basically, not a sign of glory, rather a sign of weakness.

Weakness is a fact – not bad or good. Like it or not, we all feel weak at times – I accept, that I do. And specifically in these times of excruciating agony, the mind kicks into a defense mode – where it naturally tends to put its faith and control upon a higher illusory entity. It’s not good – it’s not bad – it is what it is. And we cannot change this situation, just yet, because though we have developed extraordinary brain capacities, inside, we still remain cave-people, with a highly sensitive amygdala, that reacts quite effectively to every single fear and stress stimulus. And to quote from my book The Krishna Cancer“Mother Nature created God as a neurological anti-depressant sentiment.”

Belief in an imaginary entity or force, is a sign of weakness. And, weakness is a part of biological existence. So, glorifying that weakness, does not make a person any more religious, spiritual or wise, than beating one’s wife does for not sleeping with him. Yes, we have developed through the process of natural selection, the capacity for limitless good and glory, but that does not mean, our innate brutal nature has vanished from our psyche for good. We have the capacity for courage and conscience, but you must remember, we also bear the seeds of weakness and brutality within us. These seeds served us well for millions of years. They have been the most crucial elements in our survival in the wild. Let me give you an example.

Imagine a man is sitting with his wife on the couch, while watching TV. Suddenly, a woman on TV starts stripping. What kind of changes do you think, would take place in the man’s pants! Now here is the real question, the man gets erect by watching the stripping lady on TV, say it’s my good friend and popular pornstar Olivia Austin – does this mean, he actually wants to do her? Does this mean, he does not love his wife? These questions are all non-sense. Of course he loves his wife. And consciously, he does not desire to mate with Olivia, but his subconscious mind does – and that’s not a theory, but a fact. Because that’s how the man’s brain has been surviving in the wild. His penis had to be prepare within seconds, the moment he had an opportunity to spread his genes – there was no consent involved. Because the competition was high. And that libidinal programming still remains active within the man’s neurobiology. That’s why erection upon the sight of a hot lady, is quite normal and in fact, healthy, but that does not necessarily mean, it is a sign of intentional desire for intercourse with that lady. A man may be married happily, and still his penis would get erect, the moment his mind visualizes a glimmer of opportunity for spreading his genes. Similar is the process of belief in an imaginary entity, named God.

The mind has various mechanisms to maintain its internal order and well being. And belief in something higher than the petty little human existence, is one of those self-preservation mechanisms. A person may be the most rational being on earth when everything is almost fine in his or her life. But the moment, clouds of excruciating agonies begin to cover the sky of his or her psyche, all rationality will go out of the window, and what will remain, is pure, savage, survival instinct. During these moments of utter disaster, a healthy human mind is more likely to give in to supernaturalism, than to bring out a notebook and do logical analysis. Eventually when those clouds start to disperse, the mind would slowly gain its natural rational capacities. Then he or she would again start talking most boastfully about reasoning and free thinking. This is not hypocrisy – this is human life – or to be more accurate, this is biological life.

Another such mechanism comes to my mind in this context. This mechanism kicks in when somebody faces a life-threatening trauma, and gives rise to the mesmerizing experience of afterlife, in which apparently the trauma-struck individual has an encounter with supernatural entities, prophets, or diseased relatives. And this experience manifests as more real than actual reality. The purpose of it is to put your mind in a preconceived domain of comfort, while your body is under tremendous stress. And before when medical science was not developed, people died with this last conscious experience of entering into a higher dimension. We did not have the means to save a dying person. Now we do. So, even though they go close to the doorstep of death and start experiencing the conscious hallucinatory domain of afterlife, we are capable of bringing the person back to life. And when they finally wake up, they can excite all others around them with their supposed experience of the afterlife, unlike our ancestors who did not have the means to come back from the doorstep of death.

The mind is who you are. You are your mind. And as such, you are not even aware of most of its features – because you are not supposed to, biologically speaking. Underneath the surface of conscious awareness, lies a whole territory of subconscious traits and processes. Some of these processes become active on a daily basis, others, when truly necessary. But they are there, nevertheless. They are there for a reason – the reason of survival – the reason of maintaining well being when every other modern means fails. They don’t follow modern norms of rationality. They only follow Mother Nature’s law of survival. And they are definitely not glorious in nature, rather, they are simply the mind’s way of preserving itself. It is not something to be proud of, or critical of. It just is, what it is – an unavoidable part of human mental existence.

 

(Simultaneously published on Goodreads)

Recommended Reading

Autobiography of God: Biopsy of A Cognitive Reality, 2016

To be an original human, you must die

This piece is meant for all conscientious humans, except for those who call themselves fundamentalists. No scientist in the world has the capacity to turn a fundamentalist into a conscientious human, because they possess the worst form of broken minds. And we scientists do have the power to fix a little bit of brokenness of the mind, but not the brokenness of the fundamentalist. We do though have the ability to play God and make that brokenness go worse, and make that fundamentalism ineffective, without killing the host, but that would also mean killing the soul of an individual, which if we commit, would make us the same kind of sectarian barbarians as the fundamentalists and their loyal slaves – the holy warriors.

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The point is, even if a handful of scientists come together, we would easily outsmart and eliminate the so-called terrorism from the face of earth. But the scientific community has lost its original sense of responsibility. Innovators with resources and smartness, are more busy with pompous dreams of colonizing mars, while their own kind suffers on earth. If we really wanted, we could end terrorism once and forever, right at this very moment, but in reality, no one really cares – they only pretend to care! Those who have the sense of responsibility, do not have the resources, and the ones who have the resources are chasing their self-centered dreams. Seeing all this, what appears to me is the irony of being the smartest species on earth. We may be the smartest species on earth, which we undoubtedly are, yet at the same time, possessing all that smartness, we are also the most irresponsible species on earth, desperately chasing after instant gratifications. We are always running, from one gratification to another, never to really fathom the true beauty, value and gravitas of human existence.

And as for scientists, who are somewhat interested in religious issues harming the world, they are more obsessed with criticizing religion as a whole, than to go deeper into those issues and construct a solution. They are just plain old intellectuals discussing plans in a room, and going to the grave with those plans with them, with almost no practical impact upon the society. Religions, i.e. organized religions do indeed inflict harm to the world, not because fundamentalists bring out the worst of religion, rather because we the conscientious humans on the other side, don’t do anything of real significance above and beyond the petty old acts of criticisms. Criticisms are pure wastage of time and resources. Actions bring change, that change could be either good or bad. The holy warriors act on their dogmas, hence they are effective in bringing destruction upon the world – that destruction is nevertheless a substantial change, however, negative that may be. If only we the genuine humans had the real guts, and sense of real responsibility to act as the holy warriors on our own beliefs and ideals, then you wouldn’t see any trace of terrorism in the world whatsoever, religious or otherwise. The so-called holy warriors are driven by a cause, no matter how disgustingly barbarian that cause be. If only we the conscientious humans were as driven as them, by our urge for real peace and real harmony, then we could, for real, not in theory, live in a world of pure compassion and hatelessness.

Now here is the real question, that matters. Are you driven? You, the person in front of the screen. Are you driven enough to do something really original, really novel, and not just walk on the paths paved by your ancestors who were as narrow-minded and conditioned as you are. Can you break free from that condition? Or rather you should ask – why haven’t you broken free from those conditions? What prevents you to do so? Why do man-made labels matter and not human life? Why is it that, labels have gained more importance than the core values of a human being?

As a child, I truly believed that there was some blue alien-like god named vishnu looking after humanity, and when the time comes, another angry god, named shiva, would destroy everything, and then the god of creation with four heads, named brahma would create the world all over again. That’s what my environment conditioned me to believe. It wanted me to conform to its delusional thoughts and beliefs. But as I grew up, I discovered something rather remarkable. It was that, all those stories were mere means for an uncivilized and ignorant people to be content with their lack of real understanding of the world. These stories are mere delusions imposed upon the mind to stay cooped up in a ship-shape structure of illusive security. The whole world is filled with such stories. And once you conform to these stories, you start to live second-hands lives like your ancestors did, and my ancestors did. Fortunately, some are crazy and driven enough to tear apart all that conformity, and begin to live as original humans. Are you an original human? I am not judging you, neither should you. Simply ask without any prejudice.

To be an original human, you must die to all labels. This death brings the real vitality in life. Now one may ask, how can one achieve it? And there is the problem of the so-called modern humans. They all want somebody to tell them, how to achieve something. Here is a fact, calculus can be taught, quantum physics can be taught, molecular biology can be taught, but not freedom of mind. And why do you need a path in the first place? If there is a bottle labeled poison, on the shelf, you don’t just bring it down and drink the poison to know whether it will kill you. Likewise, once you really see the poisonous implications of the socio-culturally passed on labels, you simply tear them apart – throw them away as far as possible. Does one need to deceive oneself, to understand self-deception! If not, then why do you deceive yourself, by conforming to the social labels, be it a religious label, a non-religious label, a nationalist label, an intellectual label, or a gender label. You are a human – that’s it. And once you recognize the simple fact that labels only destroy the world and disrupt peace, you simply are no longer bothered with those labels and terms. And that’s the time that you are really born as an original human. An original human would never consciously hurt or kill another person, in the name of any book, institution, messiah or god. And this original living is real religion – it is not instructed by any book, by any institution, by any priest, prophet or messiah.

Why should any book have any authority over human life? Books are supposed to give a helping hand to humanity’s progress, not to instruct humanity how to progress. Plato wrote his books to help humanity understand knowledge and wisdom. Tolstoy wrote his books to help humanity understand morality. Einstein wrote his papers to help humanity understand the universe. Darwin wrote his books to help humanity understand the biological history of lifeforms. I write my books to unify humanity beyond all labels. But the point is, none of us ever said that our works are the ultimate measure for humanity to behave properly. None of us ever said that our books are the authority of human life and that only through us humanity can find salvation. Your life is a vehicle that is driven by you, and books can be the helper in the journey, but never the driver themselves. And the moment you let books to drive your existence, you inadvertently set yourself out on a course for imminent collision with other creatures whose lives are driven by their own books.

I must make it clear, I am not a teacher or a preacher or a messiah. I cannot teach you anything, for I know nothing. I have nothing to preach you either. I have only this one ultimate sense of responsibility to make you think, seeing all the disastrous incidents that are taking place in this world. Even before I was a scientist, I could not sit still and accept things as they were, so I thought being a monk would somehow solve the situation, since most prophets walked that path. Then as a monk, I experienced what the prophets experienced – I met God, I became one with God, I became God. But that’s the time when I really began to question the authenticity of such experience, and the significance of it in elevating conflicts and misery from this earth – an experience which apparently has been hailed throughout the world as the ultimate state of spiritual enlightenment. As I have stated in my book “The Film Testament”
“After I attained the Absolute Divine state of Unification with the Universe, I realized that the purpose of life is not renunciation of anything, but the realization of the purpose itself.”

These are all experiences that can happen to anyone, given either enough perseverance or enough hallucinogenics. But this experience does not in any world make a person an authority of humankind. Attaining god or nirvana or the so-called ultimate truth has nothing to do with everyday, ordinary, worldly problems. These worldly problems are to be solved by every single human being. These problems can only be really solved when you have freedom in your mind – freedom from all labels. And, you do not need to follow me or any other, in order to understand freedom or make it manifest yourself, because freedom does not come through me, or any other thinker, teacher or messiah. A human mind is born free, it is only the society that ties it up with the chains of bigotry, prejudices, biases and self-centrism.

Why do we need to hate anyone on earth, for whatever reason. What makes others lesser human than us! Nothing. To quote from my treatise on parenting
“No other being is lesser human than the one who thinks of others as such.”
So, if one thinks of others as lesser human, because one’s own so-called holy book says so, then that one is the real lesser human. And unfortunately this whole world is filled with these lesser humans. So, one wonders, how could we ever change this disastrous situation?

It begins with you, because from you a new generation of humans is to be born.You the human – the one being courageous enough to ask questions and not give in to conformities. If only you become free, then you, my dear sister or brother, will give a truly liberated family environment to your child, and that child will give the same free environment to his or her child – and it will go on, and eventually make the world filled with enough conscientious free original human souls to outweigh all the negativity of the remaining tiny portion of second-hand humans – the real lesser humans. Raise your kids and grand-kids not as strong men or strong women, not as good Christians, Jews, or Muslims, not as responsible Americans, Europeans or anything else, not as efficient professionals or smart academics, but as strong, good, responsible, efficient and wise human beings.

(Simultaneously published on Goodreads, Topbuzz & Medium)
Further Reading

Idolatry of Innovation

We live in a world where we have put most of our focus on improving technology and not on improving human well being – not on improving the quality of life. And the argument put forward by the advocates of technology is that, this is the way to improve human well being. Yet, despite all technological advancements, human well being, or to be more specific, human mental well being has only deteriorated with the rise of technology, instead of improving. Because they confuse comfort with quality.

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We are manipulating machine intelligence, and in the process we have forgotten to effectively utilize the true potential of our own mind, let alone focus on improving the mind. We are developing artificial intelligence and have forgotten to develop our psyche. We live in a dream state, where we are mostly unaware of our own potential and nature. We confuse luxury to be necessities. We confuse comfort to be peace. The only advancement that we have made in significant proportions is scientific ones, which are hugely limited to technological advancement. Now, do not be hasty and conclude that I am about to criticize technological advancements. I am not. We are neither criticizing nor advocating. Science has helped a lot, way more than any other human endeavor in human history. But my question is – at what cost?

Medicine has prolonged human life, but when you go deep into this matter, you find out something rather ugly. Medicine has indeed improved physiological existence of humankind, but has it truly, actually, genuinely improved the psychological existence – the existence that is more direct than physical. You are your mind, and medicine has done nothing substantial to improve the quality of our mental existence. Popping countless bottles of anti-depressant, mood-stabilizer, anti-anxiety pills relentlessly, is not the sign of a mentally well and advancement species.

On the contrary it is a sign of a mentally deteriorating species. So, yes we have the technological means to bring someone back from the doorstep of death, but then what? Have we truly developed an actual means to liberate the mind and the body from the ever-strengthening death-trap of pills and technology? If not, then I am afraid, such a species which is ridiculously dependent on external stimuli, is not an advanced species, in the truest sense of the term. In this situation one is compelled by circumstances to ask an essential question – what the heck has technology really done, better than our ancestors in the jungle?

Our ancestors in the jungle were fighting against the enemies that were outside, but now, quite interestingly, we have become the enemies of ourselves. We innovate things to make life comfortable, and not to make it truly well. And in the process, we the human society have become meek worshipers of innovation. The humans of this century idolize innovation. It is a disgusting idolatry of innovation. And like in any other form of idolatry, whether it is Hindu idolatry, Christian idolatry of the cross, or the Muslim idolatry of letters, the humans receive a sense of comfort in the idolatry of innovation.

The humans have become so obsessed with innovation that they have completely ignored their own soul. And among these innovation-obsessed humans, the so-called transhumanists are the most deluded bunch, for they don’t have a clue of any kind of order in the human mind, yet they boast about developing more advanced technologies to merge the mind with machine – and the most interesting thing to notice here is that, they don’t even have a clue that they don’t have a clue.

Amidst the fog of technological delusions, the human soul has been ignored for so long that its very independence has been destroyed. Technology has crippled the mind to such an extent that the mind begins to malfunction the moment it senses the absence of the technology, which it is usually surrounded by – and unfortunately, sometimes or perhaps quite often, even the absence is not necessary to disrupt the well being of the mind – the slightest trigger can set the so-called modern humans off.

Here I must be clear about something. I am not condemning technology, rather I am pointing out its actual implications in human existence. Technology was supposed to be the help in life, instead it has become the major driving force behind life. I use technology as well. Right at this very moment, when I am writing this piece, I am doing so, on my computer. But the point is, the computer is not in control here, I am. The devices do not use me. I am the one that uses the devices.

Unfortunately, when I look around, all I see is, a bunch of devices using the humans – a bunch of soulless devices sucking the soul out of humans. The humans have become slaves to their devices and slaves to innovation. They worship innovators as some sort of God, and forget to take into consideration the core values that make a creature human. One can live without innovation, but not without values. And when a society is being formed upon the edifice of innovation, and not on the foundation of core humane principles, it is inadvertently going to become more and more disorderly over time in its internal realm. And this is not a speculation, rather it is a fact.

I am pain-stricken to say, that today’s so-called modern humans are all like the dogs in Pavlov’s experiment. Pavlov used a bell to manipulate the mind of his dogs, and today, social media platforms are using people’s own beloved smartphones to manipulate them. Humans of this modern society are being conditioned without them even being aware of it, through the tone of smartphone notifications. The humans of modern society get a spike of happy hormones, the moment they receive a notification, and when they do not get any notifications in a while, they go crazy due to the rising tides of stress chemicals. Yesterday’s telephone was neutral on this matter, for it did nothing more than just sit there on the desk, until someone rings you to talk. On the contrary, today’s smartphones are so far the most effective tools of manipulating people’s mind at a subconscious level, through the tone of notifications. These notification thingies have made a mess of the human mind, pushing it more and more into the abyss of complications, confusions and disorder, via the psychological process of reward and punishment.

Simplicity of the mind has become scarce in the midst of all the rise of technologies and worthless “media-material” which we call “content”, that keeps the humans ceaselessly asleep, never to see the whole picture. Cat videos attract more attention – breasts acquire more likes – pedophile porn attracts more viewers – and content of real value gets ignored because they do not entertain the viewer. All that the humans want, is to be entertained. They want to forget all the mundane elements of life. And in the process, they forget a basic fact – it is that, life has become mundane because of their own way of thinking. They perceive impracticality to be practical, and practical facts of peace and harmony to be absurd romanticism. They take sexual attraction to be love, and hail unconditioned love to be stupidity.

And since this is the society, one lives in, I am afraid, we are no more advanced in our psychological realm than the baboons in the jungle. If we are to call ourselves humans, we must first be responsible of our actions, of our environment, of our society – and start acting as humans, not as device-obsessed apes and attention-craving insects. And it all begins with the individual – not the individual who thinks of himself or herself as an individual with unique traits while walking on the same deluded and neurotic path as the rest of the humans of the society – but the individual who can see the self outside the walls of labels and recognize the responsibility of that self in its society.

The society is neurotic – it is a fact – no conscientious creature can deny it. But my question to you is – what are you doing to obliterate this neuroticism for good? Remember, you are insignificant, as long as you think of yourself as insignificant. The moment you find significance – real, actual, genuine significance within yourself, then that significance will automatically radiate into the society you live in. It all begins with you. A bunch of people known as politicians are not going to change anything, for they themselves are second-hand humans, living second-hand lives, like most humans on earth. They live conditioned lives with their mind being in disorder, and yet, you want them to bring order in this world. It’s like asking a blind man to show the path. Mind you, the whole world is our family, and our family is our responsibility – not of a bunch of so-called specialists. And this is not a glorified hypothetical ideal, rather it is an actuality.

To refer to this kind of actual and not hypothetical statements with potential for inspiring others, I hereby propose the term “neuro-cookie”. A neuro-cookie is not simply an inspiring quotation, rather for a quotation to be a true neuro-cookie, it must be based on actuality. The world has already plenty of inspiring statements, but when you go deeper into those statements, you find out that most of them have no basis in reality whatsoever. Most of these statements are products of mere romanticism and imagination. And since we are talking about reality, we must also keep in mind that, it is not necessary for a neuro-cookie to be fully empirical, but it must have some empirical basis. The contention of a neuro-cookie is to not simply inspire the human, but to do so with the most effective fusion of rational and compassionate elements. You probably have seen some of those neuro-cookies in my recent talks. Now, let’s get back to the real issue of change.

Peace on earth can only reign when each human recognizes this basic responsibility and begin manifesting order within the self. And this can happen only if each human becomes conscientious enough to live with technology instead of living through technology. Keep in mind, technology has no conscience of its own. Therefore, it is neither good nor bad. It is us the humans who have to be responsible of the implications of technology in human existence, and use it at our disposal, not callously, but responsibly. Without this basic sense of responsibility, technology would only bring more and more destruction upon the world, quite like what irresponsible, fundamentalist usage of organized religions has been doing through ages.

 

Simultaneously Published on Goodreads.

Further Reading

A Push in Perception, 2017

 

Only you can save yourself

I am Lord the savior – I am the God of all gods – I am the messiah that the humans have been desperately waiting to come – I am the messiah, the prophet, the Son and the Holy Father. And through me you shall find salvation in life. Your life will never be holy and religious unless you submit to my all-pervading radiance of divine supremacy. Submit o petty little sinner, for you have sinned, and it is I who can save you from your sins. Only I am pure and absolute, and you are a born sinner.

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You heard everything I just said. Now I have a question of real significance. Do all these statements make you question my psychological sanity! Do they? If yes, then we can proceed with this brief piece, otherwise, there is no use of this entire article filled with a bunch of words. So, I am assuming, the statements that I just made, make you doubt my mental lucidity.

Wonderful – they should. That’s exactly what I intend them to induce in your mind – a sense of skepticism about me and about everything I have previously said and written. Are you skeptic of me? Good that you are. Good for both you and me. Now here is the second question. If these statements make you doubt my sanity, then why aren’t you bothered with those countless other statements made by various religious institutions that are exactly similar in their narcissistic nature.

Why don’t you question the church, the bible, the vedas, the quran, when they relentlessly boast about the indisputable, supreme authority of their own prophet, messiah, image of god over all humanity! How dare an institution claim authority over the humans! Why aren’t you shaken at this? How can you sleep so sound, when the whole world, or at least most of it, is basically obsessed with the divine supremacy of these self-glorified institutions and organizations.

Also, there are other organizations that talk relentlessly about religious harmony, tolerance and freedom, and yet they never really address the real reasons of all the harms caused in the name of religion. They never pick up a bible or a quran and point out the verses and instructions that are basically sign of megalomania, xenophobia, misogyny and many other barbarian evils. Yet these organizations call themselves progressive and free from prejudices.

Harmony shall never be installed in the world, especially in the domain of religion, as long as, the people radically attached to those religions are unwilling to recognize and eliminate the evils in their own organized structure of so-called religion. I am saying so-called religion, because, organized religion is an immature attempt to understand religion and be religious. Real religion lies in freedom from all organizations – be it religious, spiritual, or non-religious.

Ask yourself this my friend? Are you free? Are you free from labels? Are you free from conformities? Or even if you are not completely free in all these aspects, are you at least aware of the fact that you are not free? If yes, then only there is hope for you. Only then there is hope for real religion, peace and harmony manifesting in the human world.

I am not the hope, neither is any other historical, imaginary or mythical savior. What am I! Nothing. As far as your life is concerned, I am no more valuable and holy than the particles of dust under your feet. So, I have nothing to give you. Only you my friend, can define, understand and manifest religion within yourself. Only you can save yourself.

To quote from my new book ‘A Push in Perception’

“Ultimately, beyond the primordial, brutish labels of man-made institutions, true practical religion of the civilized society must bring oneness. This very process of unification without bigotry is what makes religion, religion, for the word religion comes from the latin “religare”, which means “to bind”, that is to unify humanity.”

 

{Simultaneously published on Goodreads.)

Further Reading

A Push in Perception, 2017

Rowdy Buddha: The First Sapiens, 2017